President Dr Lobsang Sangay delivering the Statement of the Kashag on the 30th Anniversary of the Conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, in Dharamshala, India, on December 10, 2019. Photo: TPI/Yangchen Dolma

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Dharamshala, India — Tibetan President Dr Lobsang Sangay appealed members of the US Congress and Senate to support the passage of the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 during his official visit to Washington DC in September this year.

He also urges U.S. lawmakers to support this very critical bill for Tibet, to send a powerful message to the Chinese government and to provide renewed hope to the Tibetan people. The text of the letter, originally sent to the U.S. Congress on October 3, 2019, is below.

President of the Central Tibetan Administration, previously known as the Government of Tibet, Dr Lobsang Sangay, today called upon the Tibetan people in the U.S. to lobby the Congresspersons and Senators of their respective constituencies by urging them to co-sponsor the Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2019 (H.R. 4331).

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affair is set to hold a markup session, a process by which a U.S. congressional committee debates, amends, and rewrites proposed legislation on the Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2019 (H.R. 4331).

Built on the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002, the Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 was introduced in the US House on 13 September 2019 by Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and introduced in the Senate on 24 September by the commission’s Co-Chair Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The bill has already 30 bipartisan co-sponsors.

If passed, the bill would impose sanctions on any Chinese officials who interfere in the process of recognizing the successor or reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama. It would recognize the Central Tibetan Administration as the legitimate representative reflecting the aspirations of Tibetan people around the world and support the democratic governance of the Tibetan community in exile and authorize the ongoing U.S. appropriations to support Tibetans in Tibet and South Asia. The bill further mandates that there should be no new Chinese consulates in the U.S. unless a U.S consulate in Lhasa is established.

The Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2019 also introduces new key provisions aimed at protecting Tibet’s environment and rivers and promoting greater cooperation to mitigate the effects of climate change in Tibet.

The President visited Washington DC in September and November this year to lobby the Congress and Senate for the Tibetan Policy Act and Support 2019. He met with 21 Senators and Congresspersons, including Senator Mitt Romney, Senator James Risch, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Tom Cotton, Senator Josh Hawley, Senator Steve Daines, Senator Thom Tillis, Senator Pat Toomey, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Jim McGovern, Congressman Andy Levin, Congressman Vern Buchanan, Congressman David Price, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Congressman Ted Yoho, Congressman Gerry Connolly, Congressman Ron Wright, and Congressman Tim Burchett.

As the holiday season draws near, the CTA President appealed to every Tibetan in the U.S. to spare a moment to call, e-mail or schedule a meeting with their respective congresspersons and senators and urge them to co-sponsor, support, and vote for the Tibetan Policy and Support Act 2019 (H.R. 4331).

President urges Tibetans living in the United States to join him in an open letter calling on U.S. lawmakers to support for this very critical bill for Tibet, to send a powerful message to the Chinese government and to provide renewed hope to the Tibetan people. The text of the letter, originally issued by the Kashag on October 3, 2019, is below.

"The United States Congres passed the Tibet Policy Act (TPA) in 2002 an Act that was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Its purpose was to support the aspirations of the Tibetan people to safeguard their distinct identity. This is one of the most important Tibet related legislation passed by Congress to date. However the Tibetan community and the Tibet situation have changed dynamically since 2001, and this has necessitated an urgent case to amend the TPA. Congressman Jim McGovern, the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive on China, has consequently introduced the Tibet Policy Act of 2019 (H.R. 4331). Other Co-sponsors are Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Marcy Kaptur (D-Oho), Brad Shennan (D-Calif) Mark Meadows (R-NC). Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah).

H.R. 4331 strengthens the 2002 Tibet Policy Act by including provisions related to His Holiness the Dalai Lama's reincarnation and succession process; strengthening the Tibetan Administration's democracy-in-exile; protection of Tibet's environment and water resources, and continuation of humanitarian and development assistance for Tibetans in Tibet and in exile."

"The right of the Tibetan people to choose their own religious leaders must be safeguarded, and the Chinese government should have no role in the selection process of the next Dalai Lama and other important Tibetan religious leaders. The establishment of a vibrant democracy and administration in the Tibetan exile community is a great success story that deserves recognition and support from the United Stated. The new bill also calls for the preservation of the Tibetan Plateau's fragile environment, especially the vast Freshwater heard which supports an estimated 1.3 billion people in Asia. Lastly, the revised bill requests continuation of developmental assistance is currently appropriated, with recommendations for increasing the amount.

The original Tibet Policy Act was passed with bipartisan support. At a time when the very survival of Tibetan culture and Identity is in peril due to the coercive policies of the Chinese government. I humbly ask for your support for this very critical bill for Tibet. The bill's passage with strong support from the U.S. Congress will send a powerful message to the Chinese government and will provide renewed hope to the Tibetan people."